Welcome to the season where people run around with red, watery eyes and noses that won’t stop running. It’s allergy season, and for many people it can be a rough one.
If you have bad allergies when the weather gets nicer, you are not alone. Many people suffer from sneezing, coughing and other cold-like symptoms when the pollen count rises. If you want to spend more time outside in the warmer weather without sneezing your head off.
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Here are four ways you can manage spring allergies:
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1. Wash bedding in hot water
Allergens like dust mites and pet dander can collect on sheets, pillowcases and blankets. If you don’t clean them regularly, you’ll breathe them in while you sleep and possibly wake up congested.
When you’re washing sheets, pillowcases and blankets, use the hottest water possible for the fabric and dry them on high heat. Wash these items in a separate load from your towels, so allergens from the towels don’t get on the other items.
- Wash bedding in hot water: Allergens like dust mites and pet dander can collect on sheets, pillowcases and blankets. If you don’t clean them regularly, you’ll breathe them in while you sleep and possibly wake up congested.
- Dust with a damp cloth: It’s important to dust at least once a week to remove dust that collects on furniture, molding and other surfaces. The best way to do so is with a damp cloth or dusting mitt because it will trap dust instead of stirring it up into the air.
2. Take off your shoes at the door
Wearing shoes indoors can track pollen, dirt and other allergens into the house. Also, some studies have found that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
While it’s fine to wear shoes when working in the yard or walking on a beach, make sure to change your shoes before going inside. Keep a pair of seasonal slippers or easy-to-slip-on shoes by the door that can be easily slipped on and off.
In addition to helping with indoor air quality, this helps keep the floors clean and keeps you from tracking dirt indoors.
3. Keep windows closed during high-pollen times of day (and use the air conditioner)
Pollen counts are highest in the morning and late afternoon, so keep your windows closed during those times to prevent pollen from getting inside your home or car. If you must drive with the windows down, use sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. Use air conditioning at home to filter and cool the air. Make sure to clean or replace filters often, since a dirty filter will blow allergens around instead of trapping them inside the machine.
The best way to reduce your pollen exposure is to limit the time you spend outdoors.
- 1. Keep windows closed during high-pollen times. Pollen counts are highest in the morning and late afternoon, so keep your windows closed during those times to prevent pollen from getting inside your home or car.
- 2. Wear a mask when mowing the lawn or raking leaves. If you do yard work, wear a mask to prevent inhaling any allergens.
- 3. Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes from pollen.
- 4. Wash your hair at night if you’ve been outside all day to avoid sleeping with pollen in your hair.
- 5. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner in your home to reduce humidity.
If you do go outside on days when pollen counts are high, wear a face mask designed to filter out pollen.
4. Stay indoors when mold counts are high outdoors
Mold is most prevalent after a good rain when it’s warm enough for the ground to dry quickly, leaving it full of moisture that feeds mold growth. The best way to avoid mold is to stay indoors
Mold counts are usually highest in the early morning, so if you’re going to be outside, go later in the day between 2 and 5 p.m., some Dr says. You may still be exposed to mold, but your risk is lower than it is at other times of the day.
In addition to staying inside and avoiding peak hours, Dr. recommends closing your windows and turning on your air conditioner (as long as you have central air conditioning with a HEPA filter).
When you come inside after being outdoors on high mold days, change your clothes, so you aren’t carrying spores into your home that can then be spread through the air conditioning system or by brushing up against furniture or other surfaces.
The best way to deal with the symptoms of allergies is to avoid the allergens. If you know what you’re allergic to, be careful when you’re around it, and you’ll have a much better chance of dealing with the allergy symptoms before they get out of control. If you don’t know what you are allergic to, consider mobile allergy testing. These professional medical services will help you identify allergens without the need to leave the comfort and privacy of your home. Today, we offered four tips for how you can manage your allergies and minimize the symptoms that come along with spring as it arrives.